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Our dance and exercise class a hit for people with Parkinson’s

Participants in our MOVEability Parkinson's class share their thoughts

It’s hard to believe that more than a year has past since MOVEability joined forces with Parkinson’s UK, working with the Newbury and District Branch of this amazing charity to offer dance and movement classes for people with Parkinson’s. You can read more about how it all started in our blog about the launch of the Parkinson’s UK class.

A huge success

We’ve had lots of fun and met some incredible people, so naturally, we are delighted that the Newbury & District Branch of Parkinson’s UK will be continuing to support the funding of our fortnightly classes into 2024, and all at a wonderful new venue – The Bowlers Arms, Wash Common, Newbury.

Open to members of Parkinson’s UK (free membership), the class has been designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s to help them manage symptoms and gain confidence so they can achieve or maintain the quality of life they deserve. Carers are welcome too (subject to space and availability).

Designed with people with Parkinson’s in mind

Held fortnightly on a Friday (the next class is Friday 5th January 2024) in The Bowlers Arms, Enborne Street, Newbury, RG14 6TW and featuring a special dance/movement exercise programme designed with Parkinson’s in mind, the class runs for 45 minutes. It includes a warmup, 4-5 dance/movement routines to popular tunes and a cool down.

Accessible, friendly and welcoming

We have made the class as accessible as possible, offering both seated and standing options.

Those attending the class describe it as friendly, welcoming and easy to follow, with levels of intensity to suit everyone. Regulars talk about the class improving their confidence and reducing anxiety, as well as crediting it for helping them move more.

Of particular importance for people with Parkinson’s has been improved brain activity. With two instructors, we can show both seated and standing options, which has proven especially beneficial as it gives participants more choices and allows them to change their level of intensity between routines – especially, as one participant puts it, “our brains sometimes don’t work quickly enough.”

A need for the classes

Newbury and District Branch supporter Eugene is a class regular and says the fact he has to push himself to keep up with some of the movements emphasises the need for the classes.

Watch Eugene talk about how the class has benefitted him.

The classes are very good. Keeping up with some of the movements emphasises the need for the classes.
I push myself to keep up with you, Debbie!


As branch supporter, Eugene is keen to encourage members to participate in the class and the other therapies offered by the Newbury & District Branch. He views the success of classes such as this one as clear evidence of how the efforts and activities of the branch help members.

Age is no barrier

The class has attracted a wide range of people of all ages. One of our oldest regulars is Eileen, who is 90 years old and does the class standing, showing that age is not a barrier. Listen to Eileen talk about how the exercises in our class have benefitted her.

I do the classes standing. They help with the stiffness on one side.


Our online options

As part of the original funding, we offered the option for People with Parkinson’s to join our online classes for free. Whilst we won’t be continuing to offer them free of charge as our Parkinson’s offer, anyone can join them for the small fee we charge to cover costs. Those who did take part in the online classes said they valued the fact they didn’t have to leave home in bad weather to exercise, that they enjoyed the convenience of not having to travel, that the classes were clear and easy to understand, with one member describing it as like having one to one teaching.

Hear Val talk about the benefits of our on-site and online classes.

I am really pleased I am doing it. Debbie is fabulous, she talks us through all the routines. It’s excellent. The online classes are convenient and a good alternative if you can’t get out.


Val also adds, “Debbie is a very confident person with a great sense of humour. As someone who has been exercising for some 50 years, I think I am qualified to say that she is very professional in her teaching and always goes through the “moves” with us beforehand to refresh our memories. She never fails to give us “tips” relevant to the particular music we’re following.”

Keeping the brain active

Not only has our class been credited with improving the physical health of the Newbury & District branch members who attend, but their mental health has improved, too. Hear Margaret talk about how participating in the class has helped her mental health and kept her brain active, an essential part of managing Parkinson’s.

I absolutely love the classes. Not only are they good for your body, they are good for your brain. Yours and Denise’s encouragement and care is fantastic.


The camaraderie of our classes

We round off each class with a chance to chat over a cuppa and a biscuit. It gives members a valuable opportunity to get to know one another better, helping to build the camaraderie and the warm and welcoming atmosphere that MOVEability classes are known for.

Indeed, some members have described meeting new people as a reason they keep coming back.

We are committed to making the class welcoming, inclusive and fun. The response we receive from those who attend certainly reflects this.

The future

We look forward to welcoming more people with Parkinson’s in the Newbury area to our class over the coming months, or to take part in our on-line classes, please do get in touch if you would like to know more. Find out more about upcoming classes.

Expansion into other parts of the UK is something we would like to make happen – if you are interested in setting up similar classes in your area please get in touch and we can discuss how MOVEability can make it happen.